Friday, May 13, 2005


Yesterday my landlord observed a memorial service for his son who passed away seven years ago. The Hindu priest came to the house and the surviving family members, which included the widow and their daughter, a sister and her husband, came together to pray that the soul of this son would have peace, “wherever he might be,” as Mr. Jighan explained to me.

In the extended family system, the eldest son and family live with the parents. Mr. Jinghan expected his only son would outlive him and take care of he and his wife in their old age. Now eighty-five years old, in poor health, I watch my friend slowly moving toward eternity without Christ. Mr. Jinghan has been an agonistic most of his life, and it’s only because of his impending demise that he even talks about God. I’ve spent hours talking with him about Christ, but, as far as I can see, he is no closer to understanding the Good News as when we moved into the flat above him two years ago. Sometimes I feel the only thing I have accomplished is to make him a better Hindu as he has a greater consciousness of God. Our liveliest debate was over Billy Graham’s book, “Peace With God,” which someone gave his son before he died. Mr. Jinghan’s reaction to the book was that, “This Mr. Graham, whoever he is, basically says that his God is superior to my God.” He does not see the uniqueness of Christ. He feels no compelling reason to leave the gods of his culture to embrace a faith that is every bit as odd to him as his 330 million gods are to me.

I sometimes listen to myself talk to my friend and it sounds pretty weird – Jesus, the God-man, born of a virgin, dying on a cross for the sins of humanity, who rose from the dead. I get it, but then, I was schooled in that thought. Sure, it’s written in God’s Word, but the Muslims have their holy book, the Hindu’s have their divine scriptures, the Mormons posses the inspired works of Joseph Smith. We reject those writings as we don’t accept their veracity, and besides, the stories seem absurd, the same thing that Mr. Jinghan thinks when I talk to him about life of Christ.

In the end, I know that salvation comes, not through power of persuasion, but only through the power of the God’s Spirit. It all comes down to the issue of faith. I do not believe that God has predetermined Mr. Jinghan to eternal judgment but believe that He, in His loving-kindness, has allowed me to tell him about my Savior. His love for my friend is greater than mine. I have done all I know to do. I pray for Mr. Jinghan, but I feel helpless.